Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight-related. That cred all goes to the lovely Stephenie Meyer - I'm just borrowing Sam for a little while longer... <3
Chapter Four – Visitors
The forest was obscured by the thick mist swirling in the background. I felt my feet move, propelling me towards the fading light. The deep, faint rumble of Billy Black’s voice pierced the air, recounting the old tales of the spirit wolves. A brief glimpse of Taha Aki’s face swam in my mind, though I had never actually seen a physical likeness of him, as I tried to make sense of the story once more.
Billy’s voice continued to fill the air as the cloud-like mists swirled around me, eventually taking on translucent forms that resembled wolves. I heard other voices chanting, slow and steady like the beating of a drum, even though I was almost certain that I was alone in the seclusion of the great forest. I cocked my head to the side, trying to decipher where the noise was coming from and realized with a start that the wolf-like forms had begun to dance around me, encircling me in the hazy mist they trailed behind.
One of the wolf forms, the largest amongst them, broke out of the circle and walked towards me, its bright eyes gleaming in the semi-darkness. We stared at each other and I couldn’t explain the absence of fear in the presence of such a magnificent apparition. But for some odd reason, I knew I wouldn’t be harmed. Before I had the chance to cover my ears, the great mist-like wolf raised its head and let out an anguished howl, its voice baying into the moonlit night.
The phone rang in my ear, jolting me awake. I glanced at the clock on my dresser, groaning in dismay as I realized what time it was. Scrambling for the phone, I hastily lifted the receiver, cradling the handset on my shoulder.
“Hello?” I mumbled, still half asleep.
“Sam? Babe, you awake?”
Leah’s voice immediately woke me up as I managed to get myself into sitting position. I rubbed my eyes groggily, clearing my throat before I responded.
“Mmm, yeah, I’m awake. Hi,” I managed.
“Hi,” she answered, snickering over the receiver. “I needed to get some supplies for school and I wanted to see if you wanted to drive to Forks with me. We can grab lunch or something after we’re done.”
“Uh, sure, sounds great. I’ll pick you up in about an hour?”
“Okay, see you then.” Click.
I curled back up underneath the covers only to realize that the sheets were soaked with sweat. I looked down at my arms, surprised to see the new beads forming on my skin.
Weird, I’m not even hot. I must’ve had a bad dream or something.
I pushed the covers off and dragged myself to the bathroom, hoping that a nice, cool shower might help me pull myself together. As the water hit my skin, I noticed that faint traces of steam seemed to come from where the water drops had landed. I was almost completely dry before I even had the chance to towel myself off.
Am I running a temperature or something? Huh, that’s strange, I feel fine.
I raised my hand against my forehead, but felt nothing out of the ordinary. I put the thought out of my mind, shrugging as I got myself into the truck and headed over to Leah’s.
We pulled into the parking lot of the Olympic Graphic Arts store a while later, Leah chattering on about an idea for a school project she had. While I was browsing one of the aisles, my head turned abruptly as a chill penetrated my spine. I looked around, a confused expression plastered across my face. My eyes stopped on couple, so inhumanly and ridiculously good-looking that they couldn’t possibly be real, near the register waiting for their turn to pay. They didn’t look like they belonged here, their style of clothing and mannerisms definitely not something that looked like they were bred in Forks. The tall, blond male bent low to say something to the petite dark-haired female and she laughed in response, her voice like musical wind chimes. An inexplicable feeling of dislike suddenly bubbled up inside of me, though I couldn’t figure out why.
“Sam, are you okay?” Leah’s voice snapped me out of my stupor. “You kind of balled up your fists all of a sudden. Look,” she said, pointing at my hands. “You’re knuckles are turning white.”
I glanced down and saw that she was right. The color was just starting to come back around my knuckles as I released the pressure in my hands, giving her a puzzled grin.
“Hm, I didn’t even realize that I was doing that. Weird.”
“What’s gotten into you? You’re not acting like yourself.” She looked at me, concerned.
“What? No, I’m fine. Seriously. Let’s just get your stuff and get out of here.”
“Okay, whatever you say,” she replied, taking my hand. She cried out, dropping my fingers as she gazed at me questioningly.
“What’s wrong? What happened?”
“I thought you said you were fine?” she hissed, still clutching her hand.
“I am. Why?”
“God, you’re seriously telling me that you don’t feel that?”
“C’mon, Leah, stop playing around. Feel what?”
“Your skin…you’re burning up, Sam.”
I looked at her, confused, as I touched my forearm. I felt nothing different. Leah must be imagining things, probably from the drastic change in temperature when we entered the heat-infused store.
“That’s strange. I seriously don’t feel anything. I feel fine, better than fine actually.”
“Can you at least think about going to go see a doctor? Just so I’m not sitting somewhere freaking out. Better safe than sorry, right?”
“But I told you, I don’t want to see a doc –” I began, before she cut me off.
“Please? For me? I’d feel better if I knew you’d gone to see one.” She batted her eyelashes at me, knowing I couldn’t resist her when she made that face.
“Oh, alright, alright. I give up; whatever you say. Can we just please get out of here? I’m getting hungry and those people over there are making me a little uncomfortable,” I said, narrowing my eyes toward the same strangely attractive couple from before. She nodded in agreement as we made our way to the register.
An hour and a half later, we were sitting in the car after a less than satisfying lunch when Leah decided to bring up the subject again.
“Why don’t you go see if you can make a quick stop in the emergency room? We’re not that far from the hospital and I really would feel better if you would go and see a doctor, Sam.” Hearing her bring it up again suddenly caused my irritation to flare almost unreasonably. I threw her a weary glance, fighting the urge to roll my eyes at her persistence.
“I told you, I’m fine. Why can’t you just leave it alone?” I usually loved this stubborn side of her; this determined and unrelenting side. But not today. Today, it took a good portion of my self control to bite back any offending remarks that were coming close to bubbling to the surface. I was not in the mood to be goaded into something that, quite frankly, I was completely against doing. But like I said, she was relentless.
“But you promised. And we’re already near the hospital,” she pointed out matter-of-factly. “Unless, you enjoy making me worry…”
Her voice trailed off as her face turned towards the window.
Oh, she’s good…we’re resorting to guilt trips now?
“Damn, Leah. You really had to pull the guilt card on me? That’s a low blow, even for you.” I was definitely irritated now and for the love of God, I couldn’t figure out what was making me so irate and illogical.
“Well, I’m doing it for good reason and you know it. Besides, what’s it gonna hurt? You go in, they check you, give you meds, and you’re free to go! Easy,” she offered enthusiastically. When my face formed into an angry scowl, her own expression faltered as her face fell in defeat.
“Baby, please don’t make me beg you to go,” she whispered softly. “Just cut me some slack here, okay? Humor me. Even if you feel fine, just freakin’ humor me, okay?”
Great. Now’s she’s pissed, too. I thought, as her voice rose an octave.
“Fine,” I muttered through gritted teeth. “Whatever! I’ll go. I still don’t get why I have to go, but like I said, whatever. If it’ll make you stop bugging me –”
“It will,” she interrupted, cutting me off. She had that smug look on her face, knowing she’d won this round. But as she glanced at me again, I saw her expression soften as she ran her hand through my hair, stroking the side of my face with the back of her hand. “Thanks for humoring me.”
The soft sincerity in her voice took me by surprise and was almost enough to completely cause the irritation to ebb away. Almost…but not quite.
I was sitting in the emergency room at the hospital, waiting my turn to see the new doctor that’s come to town. I had dropped Leah off at a friend’s house, not wanting to worry her while I waited and not feeling up to having her hover over me the entire time.
Rumors were going around that this Dr. Cullen was some kind of skilled specialist and that it was lucky for Forks that he settled here and not some big, fancy hospital in one of the major cities. People said it was because his wife wanted to live somewhere small and scarcely populated, so Forks Hospital gained a new staff member.
“Sam Uley?” a voice called from the front desk.
“Yeah, right here,” I answered, walking up to where the woman with the clipboard was standing.
“Sam Uley?” she repeated, glancing up at me from the clipboard. “Right, so you can go into that room there and Dr. Cullen will be with you shortly.”
I nodded as I followed the hallway to the door she was pointing to. A few minutes later, there was a soft knock on the door as the same man I had seen earlier at the supply store entered the room with unusual grace.
“Hello, Sam. I’m Dr. Cullen; what can I do for you today?” He smiled warmly at me, his face expectant.
I stared at him, noticing the odd color of his eyes. Suddenly, the feeling hit me before I had a chance to realize what was happening. I felt a low rumble deep in my chest as my body went rigid, vibrating with uncontrollable tremors.
“I – I’m sorry, but I think I have to go…” I trailed, refusing to look at him as I bolted from the room.
I ran all the way to the truck, hopped in, and gunned the ignition as I tried to keep myself calm. I still needed to go pick up Leah and I didn’t want to scare her half to death for no reason.
Jeez, man. You’re losing it. What was that back there?
I paced my breath, counting numbers in my mind until I felt the tremors cease altogether. The memory of the last twenty minutes flashed through my mind and for the first time in my life, I was terrified.
“How was the doctor’s visit? What did they say?” Leah asked, trying to seem nonchalant as I gripped the steering wheel all the way back to La Push.
“Oh, you know, the usual…” I mumbled, refusing to look at her. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what had happened at the hospital because, frankly, I didn’t really know what happened in there. How could I explain my erratic behavior without her thinking that I’d completely lost my mind? It’s better that I don’t tell her anything, at least for now.
She examined my face, her eyes narrowing in scrutiny.
“What was the new doctor like? What was his name again? Dr. Cullen? Yeah, I think that’s what it was. I’ve heard a couple of things about him and his family already. Was he nice?”
“Yeah, seemed nice enough, I guess. What’s with the twenty questions?” I snapped back irritably.
“Jeez, what’s wrong with you? Can’t a girl ask questions?” Her mouth turned down into an exaggerated pout as she folded her arms across her chest.
“I’m sorry, Lee-lee. I didn’t mean it to come out like that. The guy was nice enough.” I shuddered at the memory of the encounter again, hoping that Leah didn’t notice the grimace that materialized on my face. “I’m just irritated from sitting in the waiting room for so long.”
“So they said you were okay? That you’re not sick?” God was not on my side today and she wasn’t going to give up until she got an answer. I did the only thing I could do to make her drop the subject: I lied.
“Yeah, they said I was fine,” I replied, a little too quickly. “I told you not to worry so much.”
She gave me a wary look, but refrained from asking any more questions. She leaned her face towards the window and closed her eyes. I drove the rest of the way back to La Push in silence, the faint static of the radio humming gently in the background.
Everyone was sitting in the Clearwaters’ living room when we got back later that night. There was a sports something or other playing on the television and Harry was seated on the couch, flanked on both sides by Billy Black and Forks’ police chief, Charlie Swan. Their faces were glued to the screen, only looking away to comment in disagreement about whatever they were watching. We walked through the door and all three men stood up to shake my hand before settling down to the game again.
Leah was tugging my hand, making her way to the kitchen. I followed behind her, but not before I caught the meaningful glances between Harry and Billy. They both nodded their head in unison, turning their attention back on the television as I disappeared through the door.
“What was that all about?” I asked Leah when we were out of earshot.
“Hm? What was what all about?” she replied absent-mindedly, grabbing some fruit and juice from the fridge.
“Your dad…he was kind of looking at me funny,” I said uncomfortably. “And then he looked at Billy and Billy did the same thing.”
“Oh, it was probably nothing. Maybe they were talking about the game or something. Don’t get so worked up about it. Orange?” she offered, as I shook my head in response.
“I’m not!” I protested, unable to completely mask my apprehension. “It’s just that it was weird, you know?”
She threw me an exasperated look.
“You’re just imagining things. I’m sure it was nothing. Now c’mon,” she urged, making my stomach flutter as she turned on the irresistible Leah-charm. “We might have time to make it to that new movie I’ve been dying to see. It’ll help you take your mind off of things.”
I nodded, following her back out to the truck. I seriously doubted whether a movie was enough to control the strange questions now racking my brain.
Chapter 5 to come... ;)